Archive for October, 2007

No Comment

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Naturally, I always assumed that there has never been a comment on my site (apart from one when it was set up) because no-one read it. But this week, to my delight two, yes two people have pointed out that the comment button doesn’t work. I should have actually taken on my normal, first assumption on such matters which is, it must be my fault.

I’m getting this altered – switch on and no need to register. Apologies.

Those were the days

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

According to the Observer there is a movement afoot to return to post-war standards of food rationing and use. A lot of food, apparently, is discarded in Britain causing horrible build-ups of methane, the stuff that cows produce so prolifically, and which is a nasty greenhouse gas.

I’m all in favour having never lost my own real dislike of waste. Post-war kids like me were taught about using every possible resource at least once and preferably several times, a system which arose from need but is now called recyclingand is generally regarded as a good thing. Im a pretty adept cook and I always use left-overs, just as my mother did -although the Monday curry which usually featured bananas and sultanas, has had its day. My equivalent is Sunday lunch soup, essentially a puree of what was left after family lunch.

I benefited from the 60s and 70s when there was a fairly rapid expanding of consumer goods -clothes, more exotic food in ‘super markets’ and Indian and Chinese restaurants. From a nurse’s salary I was able to buy one new dress a month as well as paying my rent, bus fares, some entertainment and contribute to a house party once every three months. And I lived in Clapham, where the house I shared with friends would now fetch about £800K and if it were rented would certainly not be to student nurses.

What I realize I did enjoy about the 70s was the wider choice, but crucially, not too wide a choice. Whenever I hear politicians saying that people want more choice I want to scream that I’d rather have less choice but better.

Our curtain fell down today, the rail having worn out or frazzled or something. The only reason it wasn’t replaced was because when my friend Annette offered to make me curtains and took me to John Lewis, I was so overwhelmed by choice of rails, tracks, rings, wood, plastic, gilt, brass, pelmets, pleats, tie-backs and lengths that my eyes swiveled and I had to be led away. And that was before I’d even considered what sort of material I wanted.

In the 60s, when I my mother got curtains there wasn’t much ‘“ groovy was geometric shapes or sunflowers and classic was brocade. And they hung on hooks and if one was extremely posh one had a pelmet. Frankly I’d be quite happy to return to the limited choice of the 60s and 70s and if you watched the very wonderful ‘Life on Mars‘ you may remember the choice that Sam Tyler made.

Not national, not an anthem

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I somehow managed to miss the big rugby match when England beat Australia but made good by watching the England/France game last week. Which set one of the many enraged bees in my bonnet buzzing. This is the one about the dreariness of the national anthem.

Apart from the ghastly droney tune and the utterly banal words, I can’t see what is national about it. Surely a national anthem should stir the heart at least a little and somehow try to representative us all. I’ve refused to sing it for years.

I’m not alone in my dislike of the national dirge. Billy Bragg, national treasure and socialist singer, wants ‘Jerusalem’; immensely stirring and already sung on many national occasions. The words are by William Blake and the music by Hubert Parry and the dark satanic mills are those to which the country people had to leave home for at the time of the Industrial revolution. A social history of the people of Britain is there and it aspires to a better country. As a national anthem for the UK it has the disadvantage of referring explicitly to England’s Green and Pleasant Land and confusingly and possibly contentiously to Jerusalem. Perhaps it could be an English anthem to join ‘Flower of Scotland’and the Welsh ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’aka ‘Land of my Fathers’. My own candidate would be ‘I vow to thee my country‘ which has gained much exposure because it was a favourite of the late Princess of Wales. It was written from a Christian perspective, the love of religion and country but it does not have specific religious references.

Meantime, we have to rally to an outmoded and unattractive piece of music on national occasions. Last Saturday was particularly embarrassing as it was sung after the glorious ‘Marsellaise’of France, a song so stirring, that whenever I see the defiant scene in Casablanca when it is taken up by everyone in the bar, I want to BE French. They may have lost the game but they were the only ones on the field national anthem wise.

As an American friend said to me when he heard God Save….played before the Oxford Cambridge university rugby match ‘Is that all?’

Mmm. Yeah.